Saturday, July 17, 2010

Book Sale!

 I hit the used book sale this morning, and although I didn't get nearly as many as I had on my list, I did get a few to add to my ever growing stack of never before read books.


Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriett Scott Chessman
From B&N:
Synopsis

Readers will be transported to the vibrant art scene of late nineteenth-century Paris in this richly textured portrait of the relationship between Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia. Beginning in the autumn of 1878, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper dreams its way into the intimate world of Cassatt's older sibling. Told in the reflective, lyrical voice of Lydia, who is dying of Bright's disease, the novel opens a window onto the extraordinary age in which these sisters lived, painting its sweeping narrative canvas with fascinating real-life figures that include Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, Cassatt's brilliant, subversive mentor.   Featuring five full-color plates of Cassatt's paintings, this is a moving and illuminating exploration of the illusive nature of art and desire, memory and mortality, romantic and familial love.

I think I first heard about this book from Molly at My Cozy Book Nook, but I honestly can't remember.  I adore Mary Cassatt's paintings.  When I was an intern in Washington DC, the moment I got off work I would head to the National Gallery and absorb myself in one particular painting of hers, Children Playing on the Beach:

I have since been a huge Mary Cassatt fan, and one day, when there is a CNN headline announcing that this priceless work of art is missing, don't come looking for me!


The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee
From B&NThe Washington Post -- Marie Arana
There is something altogether haunting here. Perhaps it's the way the story advances, peeling its way from layer to layer until the truth of each character lies bare. Perhaps it's the way Lee shows us that war can make monsters of us all. Most memorably, however, it's her portrait of Hong Kong, which having witnessed so much cupidity, moves on with splendid indifference. Like a piano under different fingers. Or a siren with another song.

Leah from Amused by Books gushed about this not too long ago, especially when I was going thru my reading rut of bad books.  If nothing else, the cover is pretty!


I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
From B&N
Synopsis
Cassandra Mortmain is 17. Her journal describes the weird and wonderful world in which she lives: housed in a crumbling castle, with her writer father (who is “blocked”), her beautiful older sister Rose, her brainy younger brother and her unconventional artist stepmother, Topaz. The sudden arrival of two handsome American strangers is the catalyst for this touching coming-of-age tale, which sees Cassandra taking her first forays in womanhood not without her fair share of grief and giggles.

This is currently on my TBR stack from the library, but for $2, now I will never have to worry about returning it.


For my husband:
Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
From B&N
The Washington Post - Mameve Medwed
…a picaresque, swashbuckling adventure, each chapter charmingly illustrated by Gary Gianni…Chabon's highfalutin writing is an object lesson in style perfectly matched to genre…If any good adventure is all about the journey, there is also, as Amram remarks, "an appeal in the idea of seeing some business through from start to finish." And the lark Chabon has in getting there translates into a hoot for the reader. Still, such an arch, lickety-split odyssey won't be everyone's cuppa. The pulp-averse, the history-challenged, the Khazar-illiterate might feel at a disadvantage without a glossary of 10th-century terms. Not every reader will be willing to take all this on literary faith. Nevertheless, if you stick with this tale, you'll be rewarded with a slalom course's worth of twists, not to mention a suitable moral.

I think since I am on an Ayelet Waldman kick, my husband is going to do a literary tango with me while reading her husband.

Finally, for the kids:

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl
From B&N
Synopsis

Who needs a ladder when you've got a giraffe with an extending neck? The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company certainly doesn't. They don't need a pail, either, because they have a pelican with a bucket-sized beak. With a monkey to do the washing and Billy as their manager, this business is destined for success.

Just when I thought I had heard of ALL the Roald Dahl books, I find this surprise!


So, for $10 and 5 books, I think I deserve the bargain shopper of the day award!